The gahmen is trying to encourage people to return their dirty dishes after eating to the tray collection point. Not too sure why they are wasting time on such trivial issues when there are more pressing things to solve but anyway here’s my take on it. Strangely I actually support the move but I think it’s going to be an exercise in futility.
It’s not going to work!
1. The type of food we eat is different from those in the West. Our local food normally come with shell (prawns), bones (fish, chicken, pork ribs), skin, (chicken, pork). After eating all these, what can a person do with the unwanted stuff? Spit it back into the bowl of prawn noodle, lump it together with the chicken rice? Surely not – how to eat with all that yucky stuff in the plate – throw it onto the table lah! And so after the meal, the table is a mess – how to clear them? Push them into the tray?
2. Tray? What tray? In many hawker centre, the hawker bring the food to the table and take back the tray. So there is no tray. In food court, it is self serivce and there are trays available. But somehow most tables at these places are too small. Try putting 5 trays on a round table of 5 and you will know there is not enough space for the trays. Some food court have such small table that you can’t even fit 2 trays facing each other. So what to do? Remove the tray and hey presto, a cleaner will appear and remove the tray before you can even stand up. So no tray. What to do with the food waste? Dump on the table lah!
3. Finally, has anybody notice the type of tray collecting point in hawker centre and food court? At the hawker centre, if there is one – it is usually a multi-tier rack that can only fit the tray but not the plates and bowls. And most of them are so filthy that a person will probably puke out the food just eaten just by looking at it. Don’t believe me – go take a look at Marine Parade Cooked Food Centre – probably the filthiest hawker centre in the East!
What about the collection point in food court? Seen the design? It is just a flat counter with a waste bin underneath like those at the fast food centre. But somebody forget to tell them that in food courts, there are plates and bowls and not all items are disposal items that can be dumped into the trash bin underneath. And has anybody try balancing the tray with crockery in one hand and trying to lift up the flab to the waste bin and then trying to pour the food waste into it? You need to be an octopus to be able to do it!
So my conclusion – don’t waste the effort and energy trying to reinvent the tyre. Let it be and give the old ladies and guys doing the clearing now a chance to earn a little bit of money.